Lord, My Motivation for the Good Life has been Wrong—Ecclesiastes 2:24

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:12-6:12

Heavenly Father, the older I get the more I understand Ecclesiastes. I used to think this was one of the most depressing books of the Bible but now I see it as a book that has as much wisdom as Proverbs. Solomon had it all, did it all and owned it all. From the beginning he was driven to succeed, very goal oriented and never settled for less than his high expectations.

Here’s what he says about success during the later years of his life:

Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind. —Ecclesiastes 4:4

Lord, in our 20s, 30, and 40s most of us would never admit that our motivation for success is to be like our neighbors. Now that I’m in my late 50s I will confess that more than likely that was my motivation for most of my life. In today’s world it’s even worse. We are tempted, stimulated and manipulated by the media and advertising from the time we are born (how many 3 year olds know what McDonald’s looks like?), so we don’t just envy our neighbors we envy advertisements, air-brushed people on magazine covers, celebrities, movie characters, and our social media friends’ pretend lives.

Solomon, the wisest man in the Bible got caught up in the success myth so we’re in good company, right? Here, I go again Lord, using the mistakes of people in Your Word to make me feel better about myself. While it does give me comfort, the purpose of Your Word is for us to learn from the mistakes of others, not feel better about our poor attitudes, desires, and choices.

From everything Solomon experienced this is what’s on his mind in his golden years:

So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. —Ecclesiastes 2:24

Lord, help me to enjoy each day’s work, food, and drink. Help me and my friends who are striving for “the good life” to stop striving and just enjoy the simple pleasures You provide. Forgive us for envying the lives of our neighbors, both the real and pretend ones.

In Jesus name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 7:1-11:6

2 Responses to “Lord, My Motivation for the Good Life has been Wrong—Ecclesiastes 2:24”

  1. Tea June 6, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    Thank you for your thoughts and the scripture verse.

  2. Harry G June 6, 2014 at 9:17 am #

    Awesome post Dianne … even if the comment comes fromthat time of life when we more often reflect backwards that forwards !! Yes, that’s one way you can you’re old !! LOL

    This post floods my mind with scripture. Like the one where Jesus says that we should be like children …trusting and focused on … even enthralled by the simple things in life. Yet, as your post says, it’s that same attitude that we should have … hopefully attain … as we approach the end of life.

    The other thing that comes racing to mind is Richard Foster’s “Celebration of Discipline?” and it’s chapter on Simplicity …http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Foster_(theologian). It isa this chapter, of this book, that inspired the background page on my Facebook site … as if to always remember the importance of simple things … especially the beauty of God’s creation !

    Some of my favorite quotes form this book …

    “We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy. ‘We buy things to impress people we do not like.’ …It is time to awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick.”

    “reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.”

    “Stop trying to impress people with your clothes and impress them with your life.”

    And lastly … yes, you know I couldn’t miss mentioning this one … the Indian Chief’s reflection on simplicity in “Dances with Wolves” where he wisley suggest that Kevin Costner realize that it’s the simple things in life that really matter … like a good fire in one’s teepee.

    If we are wisest as we get towards the end of life … what does that say about what Solomon says ???

    Must be pretty wise …

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